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Mabus Defends LCS on the Hill

Mabus Defends LCS on the Hill

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Adm. Jonathan Greenert estify before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense on Tuesday. US Navy Photo

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Adm. Jonathan Greenert estify before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense on Tuesday. US Navy Photo

With the USS Freedom (LCS-1) due to arrive in Singapore this week, the Littoral Combat Ship program’s cost received close scrutiny—as well as some sharp questions about the vessel’s survivability—during a House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing on 7 May.

Despite New Jersey Republican Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s opening statement that the LCS and many others in the shipbuilding plan “to our way of thinking are support ships” rather than “classic combatants” such as large cruisers or submarines, and Virginia Democrat Jim Moran’s comments near the end of the two-and-a-half-hour session that “no other ship requires contractors throughout the deployment,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus defended the LCS as “one of our best performing programs.” Read More

Navy Plans to Launch Carrier UAV Next Tuesday

Navy Plans to Launch Carrier UAV Next Tuesday

Northrop Grumman's X-47B is loaded Monday onboard the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) for a planned May, 14 2013 catapult launch. US Navy Photo

Northrop Grumman’s X-47B is loaded Monday onboard the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) for a planned May, 14 2013 catapult launch. US Navy Photo

Next week the Navy will launch its experimental fixed winged unmanned aerial vehicle on its first flight from an aircraft carrier, Naval Air System Command officials told USNI News on Tuesday.

Northrop Grumman’s X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Aircraft Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) is planned to be launched from the deck of the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on May, 14, several sources told USNI News. Read More

Private Jets Fill Air Show Void Left by Pentagon Cuts

Private Jets Fill Air Show Void Left by Pentagon Cuts

Former US Marine Lt. Col. Art Nall with his restored Sea Harrier. Since military teams have canceled air shows dates due to budget cuts, Nall has seen increased demand for struggling air shows.

Former US Marine Lt. Col. Art Nalls with his restored Sea Harrier. Since military teams have canceled air shows dates due to budget cuts, Nalls has seen increased demand from air shows.

Art Nalls—air show performer and the owner/operator of what maybe the only working civilian Harrier jump jet in the country—may be one of the few people benefitting from recent military budget cuts.

Those spending reductions have bumped the Pentagon’s professional aeronautics teams—the Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force’s Thunderbirds—off the air show circuit for the rest of the year, creating a demand for Nalls’ stubby-winged Sea Harrier to visit air shows: $35,000 for a 15-to-20 minute show.

“We’re turning away business,” the retired Marine aviator based in Washington, D.C. told USNI News on Monday.
“We shoot for six air shows. We got ten.” Read More

Work and Roughead Talk Fleet Protection

Work and Roughead Talk Fleet Protection

Ships from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower from Carrier Strike Group. US Navy Photo

Ships from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower from Carrier Strike Group in 2012. US Navy Photo

Electromagnetic rail guns, lasers and anti-torpedo torpedoes may be the key technologies necessary to ensure the continued viability of the U.S. Navy’s carrier strike groups when operating against an anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) environment, top former service officials told USNI News.

In the past few years the Pentagon has placed an emphasis on countering the challenges of A2/AD—a concept broadly defined as denying an assaulting force access to a battle space. In the maritime context, the traditional A2/AD tools have been mines and submarines. With the development of increasingly advanced and inexpensive antiship missiles, the calculus of an assaulting force has placed an emphasis having enough weapon capacity to counter threats. Read More

USS Anchorage Commissioned into Navy

USS Anchorage Commissioned into Navy

USS Anchorage during its May, 4 2013 commissioning ceremony. US Navy Photo

USS Anchorage during its May, 4 2013 commissioning ceremony. US Navy Photo

The Navy commissioned the seventh San Antonio-class amphibious war ship into the Fleet in a snowy Saturday ceremony in Alaska.

The 26,000 ton USS Anchorage (LPD-23) is the latest in the line of dock landing platform ships to enter the Fleet and one of 11 planned warships designed to ferry 720 Marines and their aircraft and landing craft around the world. Read More

Crashed KC-135 Crew From Fairchild AFB

Crashed KC-135 Crew From Fairchild AFB

Capt. Mark Voss, Tech Sgt. Herman Mackey III and Capt. Victoria A. Pinckney were killed when their KC-135 went down in Kyrgyzstan on Friday.

Capt. Mark Voss, Tech Sgt. Herman Mackey III and Capt. Victoria A. Pinckney were killed when their KC-135 went down in Kyrgyzstan on Friday.

The Air Force has identified three crewmembers of a KC-135 refueling tanker that crashed Friday in Kyrgyzstan, according to a Sunday Pentagon release. Read More

Photos Show Downed Tanker Was From Kansas Unit

Photos Show Downed Tanker Was From Kansas Unit

A picture from the crash site in Kyrgyzstan of a KC-135. kloop.kg Photo

A picture from the crash site in Kyrgyzstan of a KC-135. kloop.kg Photo

Remains of the KC-135 that crashed Friday in Kyrgyzstan appear to be from an aircraft based at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. as part of the 22nd Air Refueling Wing.

An Associated Press photograph from the scene show a vertical stabilizer from the crashed aircraft. Along the top ridge the letters “onnell,” can be read in block letters. A separate photograph shows a tail number of, “AMC 38877.” Read More

Air Force Tanker Crashes in Kyrgyzstan, Crew Status 'Unknown'

Air Force Tanker Crashes in Kyrgyzstan, Crew Status ‘Unknown’

A U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-16 Fighting Falcon over the Pacific Ocean in 2012. US Air Force Photo

A U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-16 Fighting Falcon over the Pacific Ocean in 2012. US Air Force Photo

An U.S. Air Force refueling tanker has crashed in the northern region of Kyrgyzstan has crashed, according to a Friday release from the Pentagon.

The KC-135 Stratotanker went down about 100 miles west of the U.S. Transit Center at Manas, a U.S. installation that has supported the U.S. air war in Afghanistan since 2001. Read More

U.N. Report Singles Out Two Navy Weapons Programs

U.N. Report Singles Out Two Navy Weapons Programs

An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator aircraft is transported on an aircraft elevator aboard the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman (CVN-75). US Navy Photo

An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator aircraft is transported on an aircraft elevator aboard the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman (CVN-75). US Navy Photo

An April U.N. report calling for suspending the use deadly robotic weapon systems singled out two Navy systems, the Phalanx ship protection weapon system and the Navy’s test platform for carrier-based unmanned vehicles as part of a report recommending an international moratoria on so-called “lethal autonomous robotics.”

Report author Christof Heyns, a human rights professor at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, mentioned the Phalanx and the Unmanned Combat Air System Aircraft Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) X-47B as examples of weapon systems with at least some degree of autonomous operation. Read More

Document: Pentagon Assessment on North Korea

Document: Pentagon Assessment on North Korea

The following is from the executive summary of the Pentagon’s report to Congress: Military and Security Developments Involving the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea 2012, released Thursday.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) remains one of the United States’
most critical security challenges in Northeast Asia. North Korea remains a security threat because of its willingness to undertake provocative and destabilizing behavior, including attacks on the Republic of Korea (ROK), its pursuit of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles, and its willingness to proliferate weapons in contravention of its international agreements and United Nations Security Council Resolutions. Read More